Odrek Rwabwogo’s take on Agriculture
To make Ugandan agriculture competitive as a source of raw material for industry, we need to focus on both incentives and skills at a farm level. A tractor at the farm with no trained operators in the neighborhood as a talent pool, no service, repair and parts workshop at each district level, means we will continue to attract more rudimentary tools to grow food for an expanding population.
Over 60% of our food consumed in cities by the elite is still grown by a mother in a Gomesi (local busuti) at the back of her house in one or two acre plots. Without large commercial agriculture, it will be difficult to guarantee food security for a growing population. To deal with commercial farming, we have among other reasons to deal with the archaic multiple land tenure systems that prohibit fast, efficient and commercial convertibility of land”
What does Archer Daniels Midland (with a net income of USD1.2bn in 2012), Bunge (a net income of USD57bn) Dreyfus (USD67bn in 2014) and Cargill (USD1.5bn net income in 2015), all American and European owned companies, have in common? They purchase, process and distribute 90% of the world’s grain (corn, wheat, sun flower, sorghum, sim sim) production, buying cheaply from areas with a temporarily surplus due to either subsidies (in the West where USD374bn is spent annually- more than a billion dollars per day) to keep prices for farm produce artificially high) or by nature’s providence -when it rains deep and on time in Africa.
These companies trade the grain at reasonably better prices than they bought at- at their pace and time, on commodity exchanges across the world. With their combination of large silos in grain producing countries, control and ownership of ports and ships for export; they are able to take a lion’s share of the world’s food import bill, currently standing at USD1.09 trillion. In between these grain companies, they generated gross revenue of USD348bn in 2013 or about 32% of the global food import bill. How does our agriculture play in this league? This is the question for our generation.